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Remembering our fallen heroes<p>​Aldermen and councillors<br>Officers and other ranks of the South African National Defence Force<br>Members of the police, law enforcement services, fire and rescue, and disaster management services <br>Military veterans<br>Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps<br>Religious leaders<br>Distinguished guests<br>Members of the media<br>Ladies and gentlemen</p><p>Good morning, and welcome to you all.</p><p>A special word of welcome to the families and loved ones of those men and women who laid down their lives in the line of duty. We stand here today, with you, in your remembrance and grief. </p><p>I am honoured, as always, to commemorate this day with you. </p><p>Today, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. </p><p>We take time every year in November to remember and hold this memorial service in a ceremony that has its origins in the aftermath of the Great War of 1914 to 1918, but which has progressively come to include a memorial to all conflicts. </p><p>We observe two minutes of silence; the first minute as a sign of respect for fallen comrades, and the second dedicated to those they left behind – their wives, children and families, as well as those veterans who survived the battlefield.</p><p>We do this to ensure that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.</p><p>And may we also never forget the reason we commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended the Great War, 99 years ago, on 11 November 1918. This historic event marked the end of four brutal years of war that claimed the lives of around 37 million people. </p><p>When this Cenotaph was first unveiled here on 3 August 1924 by South Africa’s then Governor-General, Alexander Cambridge, he remarked as follows:</p><p>‘I cannot but believe that the existence of these visible memorials, which are to be found throughout the world – silent witnesses to the desolation of the war – will through the years to come, be potent advocates of peace and will eventually serve to draw all peoples together in mutual understanding’.</p><p>Sadly, the end of the Great War did not mark the end of conflict, or see the people of the world draw together in mutual understanding.</p><p>The plaques and inscriptions at the base of the Cenotaph bear witness to this, commemorating also the Second World War of 1939 to 1945, as well as the Korean War of 1950 to 1953. </p><p>In these conflicts, South African forces served with distinction. </p><p>While we may hope that the world never again faces conflict on such a global scale, we must be ever mindful of the sacrifices that were made during those dark times. </p><p>And we must continue to be mindful of the values and freedoms we hold so sacred that we are willing to give our lives in their defence. </p><p>Are we, today, still willing to sacrifice our lives for the same causes and ideals as our fathers and grandfathers were in 1914, 1939, and 1950? </p><p>Has our understanding of the values underpinning these ideals changed since those times? I believe it has. </p><p>While we may still remain unwavering in our commitment to freedom and our abhorrence of tyranny, we have certainly expanded our ideas of what freedom is, to whom it applies, and how it should be lived.</p><p>In doing so, we may have found that this can bring about new conflict. </p><p>In pursuing the ideals of universal freedom and equality, we may come up against those who believe that some are more entitled to the fruits of liberty than others. </p><p>We may find that some are prepared to employ the tools of tyranny to suppress the voices that speak out against them. </p><p>The struggle to entrench our ideals and freedoms may no longer be fought on a battlefield, but in the courts of law and public opinion, and ultimately within each one of us. </p><p>This requires us to examine closely what we hold sacrosanct, what we are willing to protect and fight for, and whether we are willing to champion the greater good of all, or simply ourselves and those nearest to us. </p><p>Every great war fought on a grim battlefield is mirrored in the hearts of its soldiers, who in every moment must consider: </p><p>Do I have the courage and conviction to go on? </p><p>Do I know what I am fighting for? </p><p>Do I believe that what I fight for is just and right? </p><p>Do I believe that my actions will usher in a better world?</p><p>These are questions that do not only belong on a battlefield. </p><p>For all of us, a time comes when we are called upon to make a difficult choice that will have significant consequences, that will most likely result in casualties, and that may come at great cost to ourselves. </p><p>Let us therefore take courage in these moments by remembering those who went before us. Let their sacrifice be the shining light that guides us in times of fear and uncertainty. </p><p>Let us ensure that their sacrifice for a better world was not in vain, and that their names do indeed ‘liveth for evermore’. </p><p>Today, we honour our fallen.</p><p>We acknowledge their families and loved ones.</p><p>We salute our veterans.</p><p>And we pay tribute to our men and women in uniform who have sworn to uphold the values we hold dear. Thank you all who have given a lifetime of service to their country.</p><p>May your arm be strengthened, and your conviction true.</p><p>God bless you all</p><p>Thank you very much.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p>2017-11-11T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#8b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9;L0|#08b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9|SpeechesGP0|#0c8201c5-c8d4-4bbb-84ac-e15e9c5ad5ca;L0|#00c8201c5-c8d4-4bbb-84ac-e15e9c5ad5ca|Fallen heros;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#1d202cf5-e710-46b3-9977-ec1f41b8efe2;L0|#01d202cf5-e710-46b3-9977-ec1f41b8efe2|Protected;GP0|#df5c4a5e-4d5c-4054-881b-73405b255c4e;L0|#0df5c4a5e-4d5c-4054-881b-73405b255c4e|Public safety1

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